Is that from a poem? Yes it is. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s first line of her poem is so well known, it has almost become a cliché.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
What is better than expressing one’s feelings of love and passion than through reading and sharing poetry? Many lovers have used verse to woo a romantic interest, expressing and stating feelings of desire and longing.
Enjoy a love poem from Sara Teasdale.
by Sara Teasdale
Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.
Strephon’s kiss was lost in jest,
Robin’s lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin’s eyes
Haunts me night and day
What happens when two poets fall in love? For one. . . Poetry.
You might be surprised to know, it has happened more often than you might think. For example, one poetic couple—Victorian theatrical monologist Robert Browning and the extraordinary poet Elizabeth Barrett—married in 1846. The Browning’s 15-year marriage produced some of the best-loved poems in the English language. Try reading “Fra Lippo Lippi” and her Sonnets From The Portuguese. I love to imagine Robert Browning reading “Meeting in the Night” to his beloved Elizabeth. Now that is romance!
Meeting at Night
by Robert Browning
The gray sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low:
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.
Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, through joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!
Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts has, in their collection, the original door from the Barrett house at 50 Wimpole Street, London. Note the beautiful brass mail slot where Robert’s letters to Elizabeth were delivered.